By Ismaila Chafe
The Federal Government on Wednesday approved 526 million dollars for power projects in Abia, Imo and Benue.
The Federal Executive Council at its weekly meeting also approved N190.5 million for the purchase of a microscope by the University of Ibadan.
Minister of Power, Sale Mamman and Minister of State for Education, Mr Emeka Nwajiuba, made these known to newsmen at the end of Wednesday’s meeting of the Council.
Mamman said that 506 million dollars was approved for the extension of transmission lines in Umuahia, Abia and Mbano in Imo.
He said additional local content of N34million was approved for the transmission line projects.
“The cost for the extension of transmission lines in Abia and Imo States is 506,324.40 million dollars plus N34,034,000 local content cost,’’ he said.
The minister stated that the Council also approved 8.6million dollars for the construction of three sub-stations at Zaki-Biam, Benue and Bichi and Kanyi in Kano State.
“On the amount for the construction of three sub-stations in Zaki-Biam, Benue State and Bichi and Kanyi, Kano State – the one in Zaki-Biam is 8.6 million dollars offshore and N2.08 billion onshore.
“The second one in Bichi is 9.6 million dollars plus N1.7 billion local content cost, while the one in Kanyi, Kano State, is 9.5 million dollars plus N1.7 billion,’’ he said.
On his part, Nwajiuba said the Council approval for the purchase of the microscope was part of Federal Government’s efforts to revitalise and reposition the nation’s education sector.
“In continuation of efforts by the Federal Government to revitalise and reposition the education sector, Council passed a resolution granting the request of the University of Ibadan to acquire a new microscope.
“This is a microscope which is totally directed at enhancing whatever material, looking at nuclear composition of its molecular nature.
“This is in our premier university. The Department of Anatomy at the university has been at the forefront of this coordinate research in Nigeria for many years since its inception in 1948.
“The first of such equipment was given to us in 1967 by the Japanese government, but it has become obsolete.
“The Federal Government has had the opportunity to review many of the requests from the university authorities, including those of the Academic Staff Union of Universities,’’ he said.
The minister explained that before now, PhD students of the varsity had to travel abroad to conduct research involving a microscope and it has now become very expensive to do so.
“The request by the University of Ibadan has been approved so that we can stop spending the kind of money we spend sending PhD and further research students abroad on the basis of lack of this particular equipment.
“If University of Ibadan is empowered to do this, and acquires this equipment, it will become the fulcrum for many other research faculties around the country.
“Everybody, including researchers from neighbouring West African countries will be able to access it.
“Our experience at the Tertiary Education Fund showed that many of the research requests had to do with non-availability of particular equipment in the country.
“The Federal Government, in its holistic attempt to address both its economic and social values as well as upgrade our educational targets, approved this to be able to address then challenge,’’ Nwajiuba said. (NAN)